Is There A Meaning to Your Life?
"I Found It!"
I believe the foundation of any relationship between people or between people and entities has to include mutuality; otherwise it collapses in time or becomes a habit built on regrets. Even the best of a business-like partnership cannot embrace longevity without mutuality. I also believe we need a shepherd to guide us. That shepherd can be represented by a life-long partner, an older sibling, a best friend, or by our definition of God.
There is a period in a person’s life where exploring religions becomes vital in an attempt to discover any secret meaning to life in itself. Becoming a “born again” Christian was very engaging for people with the “I Found It” campaign led by the Campus Crusade in 1976 which promoted the slogan with shirt buttons, bumper stickers and even billboards. This might have been someone’s great marketing strategy, but it also produced some good end results. Like so many other people, I wanted to know what they were finding. "From 1976 to 1980, approximately 85 percent of Americans receive some exposure to the "I Found It!" campaign, which mobilizes more than 300,000 Christians from 15,000 churches in 246 cities for organized evangelism." (http://www.ccci.org/about-us/what-we-do/milestones/timeline-1970s.htm).
A Belief System
I was baptized in the Baptist denomination at age 19, experienced the Pentecostal faith at age 20, which included another baptism and the witnessing of instruction in how to speak in tongues. Can that actually be taught? I don’t think so. Then, I explored the Mormon Church at age 23, and converted to Catholicism in my 30s. Learning the ritualistic behavior of the Catholic Church was very interesting, but more interesting in the learning of it than hearing everyone practice it from conditioned training. I am not a practicing Catholic now; however, I practice what I believe is right for me. My brother became a practicing Methodist. My father grew up in the south with all the effects of a stereotyped Southern Baptist and hypocrisy rendered any of his inaction with a religious denomination. It didn’t denounce his belief in God, just his support for man-made religions. My mother studied Catholicism when she was younger, and in her older adult years, she reached for her answers by studying the language in the Bible and attending church alone.
The only form of unity I discovered within religious orders was the fact that each believed there was a God amidst a universal power. Generally speaking, I learned quickly how many people traditionally followed the belief systems of their parents or caregivers and they held conditioned minds since childhood to hold the same belief system. They were absent the opportunities to be encouraged to establish their own minds to discover what belief system was right for them as individuals and independent thinkers. This power, if you will, is based on a unity of similar beliefs, on very specific virtues, but mainly on an unbiased view of unconditional love.
Why did the rules and rituals specific to each denomination sometimes seem to outweigh the celebration of a belief in God and a universal power or unconditional love? I have known many people with strong faith, which has been constantly put to the test making faith more valuable. I have only known personally one man, though, who professed his faith inwardly and outwardly, presenting himself as a man of God within his church. He was a candle and not just a mirror reflecting its light.
Some people believe the value and effects of religion, prayer, and church attendances are composites of beliefs, behavior and things to help with the fear of dying. The truth is we can only go by our own prescriptions of faith or belief systems to help us with every living circumstance.
Imagine what kind of world it might be if everyone held the same form of true love as a parent feels for a child for all human beings. Imagine being filled with such joy and the compounding value of the effects. Those effects, then, churn themselves into a powerful influence serving a good purpose.